By Richard Rourk
The Erwin Record first reported back in October of 2019, that Regal Beloit would close its doors in Erwin sometime in September 2020, leaving 125 employees without jobs.
Flash forward to Monday, June 1, when it was announced that the Joint Economic and Community Development Board of Unicoi County (JECDB), Erwin Utilities Authority, Unicoi County, the Town of Unicoi and the Town of Erwin are celebrating the investment of nearly $7 million into the Riverview Industrial Park by PlastiExports, a Mexico-based company.
According to a press release from JECDB of Unicoi County Executive Director Tyler Engle, the company plans to create more than 115 jobs by 2025. PlastiExports TN, LLC, a newly-formed subsidiary company, purchased the facility formerly occupied by Regal Beloit.
Regal Beloit announced its intent to shutter the facility in the third quarter of 2019. Shortly thereafter, the JECDB and partner agencies began working with PlastiExports to facilitate a successful soft landing for PlastiExports’ first American plant.
Unicoi County Mayor Garland “Bubba” Evely said he welcomed the news.
“This is a tremendous win for Unicoi County,” Evely said. “Securing that many jobs for Unicoi County is definitely a win.”
According to JECDB Chairman Lee Brown, even through the unforeseen economic difficulty caused by the COVID-19 health emergency, all parties worked diligently to deliver the investment to Unicoi County.
“Through partnerships with TNECD, TVA, NeTREP and NETVRIDA, the largest industrial investment in Unicoi County in recent years was realized,” Brown said. “What began as devastating news has turned into an amazing story for manufacturing here in Unicoi County. We’re grateful for the opportunity to work with PlastiExports and look forward to helping them have a bright future.”
PlastiExports TN, LLC Business Leader JP Metcalf announced that the move will be beneficial for both the employees that will occupy the facility and the county.
“We are excited for both our employees and our community,” Metcalf said. “PlastiExports is a leader in the plastics industry and has a robust plan to grow the business further. As a result, over 115 new jobs will be created.”
Town of Erwin Mayor Doris Hensley was excited to hear the news and is thankful for all the hard work that the JECDB of Unicoi County put into securing a partner to come into Erwin.
“It is very good news for Unicoi County and especially Erwin,” Hensley said. “We are very excited for the JECDB; they have really worked very diligently to bring jobs to Unicoi County. This couldn’t have come at a better time – we all could use good news right now.”
According to Engle, partnering with PlastiExports TN, proves that Unicoi County is a great place to work and to live.
“I know that this investment by a Mexico-based company goes to prove that people across the country and around the world have confidence in Unicoi County and our ability to do business,” Engle said. “I’m appreciative of our partners on behalf of the people of Unicoi County.”